Whether you're an established business or an exciting new start up, one thing is clear: your supply chain is essential to your success.
According to a study— "Understanding, Implementing and Exploiting Agility and Leaness"— published in the International Journal of Logistics Research and Application, business of all sizes live or die on the success or failure of supply chains.
Getting your products to your customers in an economical and timely fashion is not just the "lynch pin to competitive success," the article states, but the very "key to survival." You must be able to get the right product, to the right customer, at the right time. And speed is the secret to doing that.
Are you convinced that speed is key? Have you decided to ensure that the delivery of your products and services is efficient and streamlined? Then you need a third party fulfillment center.
It's the best choice for your company's future, and statistics prove that. According to statistics quoted in The 2013 Third-Party Logistics Study, "The State of Logistics Outsourcing," published in 2013, companies who outsourced their supply chain logistics reported measurable savings in shipping costs, inventory and fixed assets. Logistics costs alone saved these companies 15 percent, while the average savings in fixed assets reduction was off the charts: 26 percent.
It's time to choose.
But, making the decision to outsource your order fill is only the first step. The next, and perhaps even more vital step, is choosing an order fulfillment partner who can meet your needs. Pricing may come to mind as an important consideration; it's one of the reasons you're outsourcing, after all. But price is no guarantee of speed when it comes to fulfillment. When speed is your main concern, consider these three tips when picking the fulfillment partner that's right for your business.
- Location - Every successful realtor knows this axiom by heart: "Location, location, location." The same is true in the world of successful order fill. Where your logistics partner's fulfillment center is located directly determines how quickly items can reach customers. When interviewing possible fulfillment partners, come right out and ask where their warehouses are located. The closer their warehouses are to your customer base, the quicker your products will reach those customers. And, as everyone in the business world knows, quick delivery means happy clients.
- Scale - In the fast paced world of Internet shopping, consumers have very little tolerance for delays. If one company cannot deliver what they want in a timely fashion, there are hundreds of other companies to choose from. When choosing a 3PL partner, ask about the size of their operation. A limited staff translates into longer wait times when processing orders, and that means longer wait times for you customers. Choose a company that's big enough to meet your -- and your customers' -- need for speed.
- Technology- Technology is king in every aspect of today's business world. No one would even try to argue that point. Technology comes into play from the start of every sale until the finish. From online catalogs, to inventory management, to customer service, to the tracking of shipments. Why, then, would you not consider it when choosing a third party logistics provider? A company with a stellar IT system will streamline your order and shipping processes. A cutting edge IT system will minimize errors, as well, limiting returns and maximizing customer satisfaction.
Timely order processing and delivery keep your company on top and give it the edge it needs to outrace your competition. By focusing on warehouse locations, operation size and technological capability, you'll be choosing the order fulfillment center that will make your business soar.